ST. PAUL--  Governor Mark Dayton has pulled the plug on Essar Steel Minnesota's lucrative mineral leases on the Iron Range and turned to Cliff Natural Resources as a possible developer of the Nashwauk site.

Dayton says Essar Steel has provided no reliable assurances that it will be able to repay $66 million in infrastructure costs to the state and has missed numerous payments to its contractors.

Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr says the state was notified Friday afternoon that Essar Steel Minnesota has filed for bankruptcy. The company did not immediately return a call.

The company broke ground in 2008 on a $1.8 billion mine, iron ore processing plant and steel mill, but the project faltered because of significant financial problems and the collapse in the global steel market.